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Family Tree Inspirations

My father-in-law began working on a family tree a few years ago.
He began digging into family records and getting names and dates from family members.
He also began putting everything together on an online family tree database.

I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to make something really special for him as a Christmas gift.  He'd done all of the work, and I was going to turn it into a family keepsake, as well as a piece of art.

Here is what I created...

 ... and in a closer look, you can see the names hand-printed on the family tree.

Of course, by this point, the family tree is branching out in new directions.  It didn't end with my father-in-law, so we had to add names down into the roots.  I thought forever about how I was going to go about this, because I thought the grandchildren were important to add.  This is how I added them to our tree...

I first drew a light pencil sketch on a good quality water color paper.
I used water colors to paint the tree, adding lots of swirls in various colors.  You might notice on the full shot that the colors of the tree move from left to right, from dark greens, to lighter greens and yellows, to oranges and reds.

I used simple brush strokes (and let me just tell you now... I am by no means an "artist" when it comes to these things!)  I do love working with watercolors because they are so forgiving!  I added some leaves, but still thought that I could do something more.

So, I came up with the idea of adding a 3-dimensional component to my tree.  I painted additional pieces of watercolor paper that I let dry, then cut into swirls that I glued onto my tree.  I also cut small leaves that I glued to the tree and then painted.  I added two little blue birds for fun, as well as a heart "carved" into the trunk of the tree.

Once I had all the names I could get (and as much of them as I could... I didn't always have a middle name, or the maiden name, but I used what I had), I used a fine-tipped Sharpie marker to write them on the branches.  I made one boo-boo in my spelling... EEK!  I'm a master at hiding my mistakes.  Ok... I'm a perfectionist who has mastered the art of making my work look perfect even when it is not.  You may notice in the image above, one of my additional swirls overlapping a name that I had to correct.  Works for me ;)

Again... I'm not an artist.  I think this is it for my painting skills, but I think I pulled it off.  I had it professionally framed, and I think it made a beautiful gift.  My in-laws proudly display it in their entry, and my oldest daughter has spent a lot of time admiring it.  She thinks we need to make one for our house.  I agree :)

So... Interested in making your own?
Use my idea, or check out some of these other amazing Family Tree Inspirations.

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

at Martha Stewart

Family Tree Craft Project Family Tree Calendar
at HOME Made Simple

Thumbprint Tree Thumbprint Tree
at Factory Direct Craft Blog

at Putti Prapancha

at Quiltsy

Paper Scrap Family Tree
at Crafting a Green World 

at Craft Lovely

at So You Think You're Crafty

at Ruffles and Stuff

Free Family Tree Templates

at Martha Stewart

A printable blank family tree on which to record 4 generations of Our Family.

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